Rockefeller in the News

by Katherine Fenz, media relations manager

Microscope Rockefeller’s Daniel Kronauer was recently profiled in the New York Times by Natalie Angier. The piece describes how he uses gene-modified ants to shed light on how societies are organized.

Don’t miss the latest news articles about Rockefeller! Here are a few of the stories about our scientists featured in the media recently.

Ant man

One of Daniel Kronauer’s ants has made the front page of the New York Times science section. Pulitzer Prize–winning science reporter Natalie Angier recently wrote a feature on Dr. Kronauer’s research using ant colonies to understand the origin and evolution of animal societies.

“Our ultimate goal is to have a fundamental understanding of how a complex biological system works, and I use ants as a model to do this,” Dr. Kronauer told Ms. Angier. He also described how “ants in a colony are like cells in a multicellular organism, or like neurons in the brain: their fates joined, their labor synchronized, the whole an emergent force to be reckoned with.”

City soil surprises

Sean F. Brady’s research on medicine-making microbes found in dirt across New York City parks was covered in the Wall Street Journal by science reporter Robert Lee Hotz.

“Traditionally, researchers seeking new clinical compounds treated cities as a barren asphalt jungle,” writes Mr. Hotz. “Using New York as a test case, however, the scientists now find that urban dirt is as rich in medically interesting microbes as more pristine locales, such as the Amazon rain forest, where bio-prospecting usually is conducted.”

The study was also featured in a Reuters video series on innovation, NYC Dirt Has Scientists Digging for Antibiotic Success.

Olfactory prophecies

Can the smell of a substance be predicted based on its molecular structure? Science journalist Ed Yong wrote about Leslie B. Vosshall’s research on this topic for The Atlantic. He notes that we have a good idea what people see from light wavelength and what people hear from sound frequency, but there is not an equivalent for smell.

“This is a longstanding problem, but one that a team of scientists—and a horde of volunteers and citizen scientists—have come a little closer to cracking,” writes Mr. Yong. “Through a crowdsourced competition, Andreas Keller and Leslie Vosshall at Rockefeller University and Pablo Meyer at IBM have developed algorithms that can reverse-engineer the smell of a molecule—to predict what it smells like from what it is.”

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